League One has improved dramatically over the past decade to the point where we are seeing top quality sides fail to achieve promotion at the end of the season due to the competitive nature of the division. Take Sunderland last season as a prime example, heavy favourites to win the league, they fell at the final hurdle in the Wembley sunshine as Charlton secured their return to the Championship with a last-gasp winner over the Black Cats.
Sunderland’s squad is quite frankly an embarrassment of riches at this level, especially in the forward department. Charlie Wyke has proven quality in this division, Will Grigg should be playing in the Championship and in Marc McNulty, they have a Scot with an eye for goal and a point to prove after a disappointing spell at Reading.
The league is littered with quality in the striking department but perhaps the biggest signing of the summer occurred this week on the south coast. Portsmouth managed to snare hotshot John Marquis away from divisional rivals Doncaster for a fee believed to be in the region of £2 million, making him the most expensive player to move between two League One clubs.
Manager Kenny Jackett couldn’t hide his delight at landing the man who hit 21 goals in the league last season.
"He’s a proven striker, who I believe is entering his prime, so it’s an excellent signing for us and we’re delighted."
He comes in to replace the departed Jamal Lowe and Portsmouth will be hoping that he can score at the same rate that he did last season and fire Pompey back into the Championship, a division they have been out of for seven years now.
Ipswich will be looking for an instant return to the second tier and will have to rely on the goals of the recently acquired James Norwood, who has been on fire in front of goal for the past two seasons for Tranmere. 29 goals in League Two last term inspired promotion via the play-offs added to the 20 league goals he had hit in the National League and that was enough to convince Ipswich to plump for him this summer.
Mo Eisa and Ivan Toney, both at Peterborough, have the ability to combine into one of the fiercest front lines in the Football League, with many tipping those two to score over 20 goals apiece. It isn’t just the big boys who boast quality front men this season and this is where the race for the Golden Boot hots up.
Ched Evans at Fleetwood hit the net seventeen times last season and will once again be the main man for Joey Barton’s Cod Army. He is another who should target the twenty goal mark in the upcoming campaign along with Bristol Rovers’ front man Jonson Clarke-Harris, who managed to score eleven goals in sixteen appearances following his move to the Memorial Stadium.
John Akinde and Tyler Walker look to be teaming up at newly-promoted Lincoln as Danny Cowley’s men look to follow in Luton’s footsteps and secure back-to-back promotions up to the Championship. Kieren Agard, after hitting 20 goals in League Two last season will hope to continue that fine form in an MK Dons side that is predicted to do well while it is also worth keeping an eye on the mercurially talented Freddie Ladapo who scored 18 goals for Plymouth last season as they were relegated.
Billy Kee will be a guaranteed goalscorer at Accrington and this could be the season Amadou Bakayoko steps up for a Coventry side in desperate need of a confident striker. It is shaping up to be another fascinating year in League One but there has never been the attacking quality in the division that we see this year.
Marquis, Norwood and Toney should all score hatfuls in a division that should feature loads of goals this time around.